No, that wasn’t Rider Strong, aka Shawn Hunter of “Boy Meets World” fame. Yes, he was wearing a baggy leather jacket and rocked floppy parted hair and twin hoops in his ears. But that was Aaron Maine, the frontman of synthpop outfit Porches.
But like the bad boy of 1990s sitcoms, Maine knows something of twinkles in your eyes.
It took a little while for Porches to get things started Wednesday — the sound situation at Dr. Martens-presented Collide @ Container party during SXSW froze every band that performed in their tracks. Poor Bully seemed to have it the worst. But once Porches took the stage? Effortlessly and actually quite sexily thawed.
There was the butt wiggle to kick off the set, for one thing. Later on, Maine licked his microphone and doled out more than one “rock on” sign to the audience. He found people in the crowd and locked eyes.
Porches’ sound, while facing issues on a technical level, was icy and sharp. The electronic dancefloor frost cooled down the rock, perfectly channeling Maines’ sly vibe. His voice isn’t bombastic, and it’s not shy. It’s a little inviting, a little jaded and a little arresting. You wouldn’t dare not listen to his confessions.
For the band’s final song, Maine ditched the baggy leather jacket, and he curved his spine with the rhythm, perched on the edge of the stage and stretching his arm out. Beckoning someone? Beckoning everyone.
A “s***show,” Maine repeatedly called the SXSW experience, spurred by the sound woes. He said it with affection and probably a slice of sincerity. It can’t be that much of a disaster if you’re smiling that much, though. And a smile like that always seems a little dangerous and a little safe at the same time.